United we sing

Music and community

In a course on theology and beauty, I ask my students why music has been such a persistent feature of Christian worship across history and cultures. In essay after essay, they tell me that this is because music moves us emotionally. Of course this is true. Music engages our emotions and in this way enriches our worship.

Early Christian writers also recognized music's affective power. Just as often, however, they commended music for its powers of harmony--in both the musical and extramusical sense of that word. Music seemed to them a sounding image of rightly ordered relationships.

 

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